Health: Meditation and its health benefits

Sunday June 21, was celebrated as international meditation day by meditation centres. This day has been set aside to create awareness among people regarding meditation. 

Sunday June 21, was celebrated as international meditation day by meditation centres. This day has been set aside to create awareness among people regarding meditation. 

Meditation is the process of sitting profoundly in deep silence. Many people think that meditation is something to be done in old age, maybe for spiritual attainment or merely to kill time. But this is a wrong thinking.

Normally we divert our attention and thinking to all activities we are doing or have to do or things done in the past. Result is the mind is working all the time and has not even a moment to relax. 

It becomes chaotic when much stressed, thus clouding our thinking and decision making. Since mind is the chief executive director of the body and governs all bodily functions, when it is stressed, the body also becomes stressed. 

This situation creates   mental problems like mental tension, anxiety; insomnia e.t.c. Physical health is also affected by mental stress. 

When under mental tension one can experience dryness of mouth and palpitations. Many problems like hypertension, diabetes, asthma, heart attacks, e.t.c. are aggravated by mental tension.

Is it not better to keep these problems away or minimizing them by keeping the mind relaxed? Meditation is the technique to keep mind relaxed.

Different thinkers and institutions teach different ways for meditation. All the techniques provide the same end result of total mental relaxation. 

In one method, person is taught to sit straight and focus on a point in the middle of the forehead for about 20 minutes. Some advocate looking constantly at the glow of a red bulb or candle placed in front of eyes. 

In another method, the individual is asked to sit straight with eyes closed. He or she is then advised to repeat one word constantly in the mind for about 10 minutes daily. 

Preferably one should take name of his God or word with positive meaning for better results. It is said that after some days of practice, when the person sits to meditate, the word he was thinking will automatically disappear from his mind. Thus the mind will become thoughtless, a state of supreme relaxation.

People who have experienced this state of absolute relaxation of mind say that being 10 to 15 minutes in such state provides relaxation equivalent to 7 or 8 hours of sleep.

Worldly gains obtained by meditation are no less. When the mind is totally relaxed, a person can work with greater concentration.  Decision making faculty is improved.

Thus when one takes correct decisions in life and does quality work, he or she automatically climbs up the ladder in their respective fields. Of course one seeking spiritual gains can always benefit from meditation.

One can pick up the way of his or her choice. Ideally it is said that meditation should be initiated in the presence of a learned and experienced master a Guru. But personally I feel that even without a Guru one can start trying to meditate.

After all it is harmless and even if not done very properly it is certainly not going to harm anyone.

There are certain pre requisite conditions for starting meditation. First is the stomach should be empty. Therefore it should be done either early in the morning or 2 hours after any major meal.

One should sit calmly and do some deep breathing before starting meditation. Deep breathing helps one to focus on it better.  Keeping the mind happy and full of enthusiasm and positive thoughts adds to the benefits of meditation.

No day is better than today. So you can start to meditate from today. To obtain total results regularity is the key word.

The author is a specialist in
Internal Medicine